Cosmetics glossary: all the important terms explained




The product was tested dermatological

This statement explains that the product was tested under the supervision of a dermatologist. Naturally, it is in our interest to market a good and above all safe product. We safeguard this with several tests, a.o. dermatological tests.

No Gluten

When it comes to food, gluten is a well-known term. Gluten is found in a variety of grains like oat, wheat, barley, spelt and rye. However, also ingredients in cosmetics contain gluten. These are proteins and extracts from the mentioned type of grains. These components are found in cleansing products, creams and lipsticks. In this context, it is important to avoid any contact of these substances with the mucous membranes. Persons suffering from a celiac disease, i.e. from a gluten intolerance, should avoid products with these ingredients. The same applies to the skin disorder Dermatitis Herpetiformis or Duhring’s disease.

No Mineral Oil

This product contains no mineral oils or derivates. These oils (Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, Paraffinum Liquidum, Paraffinum Subliquidum, Cera Microcristallina, Microcrystalline Wax, Ozokerite Wax, Ceresin, Vaseline) are odorless and purified oils which have been used in cosmetics for many years due to the fact that they seldom cause allergies or skin irritations. While plant oils are similar to the natural lipids of skin and therefore penetrate into the upper layer of skin, mineral oils remain on skin’s surface where they develop their protective effect.

Parabens are preservatives. Parabens (isobutyl parabens, ethyl parabens, methyl parabens, propyl parabens, butyl parabens) have been used in cosmetics for many years and efficiently protect them against germs. However, they are suspected to cause allergies. Principally, parabens are listed as ingredients in cosmetics on the positive list, meaning that their utilization is allowed. Sensitive skin may, however, react with intolerances. Therefore, they were often replaced in the last years by other substances with preserving, anti-microbial properties. Additional critical factor: The structure of parabens is very similar to the female sexual hormone estrogen, they are absorbed via the skin and are suspected to trouble the hormonal balance. The German office for risk valuation points out that due to the uncritical maximum quantity used there is no sufficient proof for a health risk.

Polyethylene glycols - PEG – are chemical compounds which effectively combine lipids and moisture. They are emulsifiers with a pleasant formulation. In the INCI they are normally found as the abbreviation PEG and a number. Sodium Laureth Sulfate also belongs to the PEG group. A typical example is Laureth-9, often utilized in cosmetics as emulsifier and in dermatology as local anesthetic. PEG are used in cosmetics as surface-active excipients. Depending on their composition, they serve as solubilizers, emulsifiers, surfactants, lipid replenishing and moisture-maintaining agents. PEG improve the penetration ability, i.e. skin becomes more permeable for ingredients, but as a consequence also for possible toxic substances. Therefore, the use of PEG is discussed controversially.

No Silicones 

There are different opinions regarding silicone oil. It has both advantages and disadvantages. Non-soluble silicone oils are e.g. “Dimethicone“, „Cyclomethicone“, „Cyclopentoxilase“, „Dimethiconol“. Water-soluble silicones are „Amodimethicone“, „Polysiloxane“, „PEG/PPG-14/4 Dimethicone“ or „Dimethicone Copolyol“. Silicone oil forms a water-repellent film on skin’s surface which protects against moisture loss. Allergic reactions to this substance have not been reported. Silicone oils last forever, fix fragrances on skin and do not feel greasy. But: If there is too much silicone oil in a cream, the sweat may be blocked, the skin under the film may swell and become brittle. Therefore, the concentration to be used must be selected very carefully.

No Sulfate

It is a detergent and surfactant which is found in many conventional cosmetic products. It acts as emulsifier, keeps the body's surface clean and is used as foaming agent in cleansing products. It may cause irritations, particular on sensitive skin. Due to the foaming effect, a maceration of skin's horny layer may occur; as a consequence, instead of just removing excessive sebum, skin becomes dry and irritated. Alternatives are detergents consisting of sugar and coconut. Amino acid-based surfactants are a more skin-friendly solution.

Since 2004 animal testing is forbidden by law for finished products and since 2009 for cosmetic ingredients. As natural cosmetics brand, however, Dr. Scheller has never tested on animals. The product tolerance is checked on voluntary test persons and monitored by dermatologists and/or ophthalmologists. Furthermore, law foresees a safety assessment for every product.

Their only purpose is to give color to a cosmetic product – that’s all. They have no special task besides their purpose of providing a more attractive appearance to a cream or emulsion. Colorants are usually known as the designation Cl plus a five-digit number = Color-index number. For example: Cl 77891 is the mineral titanium dioxide which is used as physical light protection filter. Some of the chemical colorants contain aromatic amines or aniline which are suspected to cause cancer. Persons tending to sensitive skin or allergies should take care to avoid the use of products with colorants.

The BDIH label exists since 2001. It was developed by the German Association of Industries and Trading Firms for pharmaceuticals, health care products, food supplements and personal hygiene (BDIH) located in Mannheim with the goal of enabling uniform standards and an examination of natural cosmetics. About 5000 products have been labeled up-to-date. The raw material must meet strict norms such us the so-called "BDIH Standard". 15 botanical substances (e.g. jojoba oil, olive oil or soybean oil) must always come from certified organic plant cultivation. BDIH-certified cosmetics are a delicate, natural care and are therefore considered to significantly contribute to skin health at any age.

The NATRUE label assures that this product is as natural as possible. This means: no synthetic fragrance and coloring agents, no substances from mineral oils (paraffin, PEG, propyl, alkyl, etc.), no silicone oils and derivates, no genetically modified ingredients, no irradiation of botanical substances or finished products, no animal testing. The since autumn 2008 existing NATRUE label of the NATRUE - The International Natural and Organic Cosmetics Association A.I.S.B.L. in Brussels, Belgium is issued in three quality categories depending on the percentage of the included ingredients from controlled cultivation.

 

Cosmetics with this logo are registered with the Vegan Society in London. Contrary to vegetarian cosmetics which contain no substances from killed animals, vegan cosmetics contain no substances from animals at all, i.e. the use of animal substances such as protein for the clearing of liquids is not permitted in the whole manufacturing cycle.